There was a time when it seemed like I was the only columnist to prime the trumpets for TNA, but those days are changing. LordsofPain.net now features three columns devoted to the weekly series where they used to only showcase one. In fact, even NoDQ.com, who I will go on record as calling the single most WWE-biased independent website on the net, has had a couple of very good feature columns in the recent past concerning the state of TNA moving forward. What's all this about? I guess I would call this a day of celebration because FINALLY people are beginning to talk about TNA in a different light.
Taryn Tarrell and Gail Kim FORCED the Knockouts Division into a brand new bracket of quality Sunday and THAT is something to be proud of. With Sting no longer able to challenge for the World Title, just as I predicted, we can try to reassemble Team TNA and prepare to move into the event that promises to make some waves...the Bound for Glory Series. This innovation, which has been BRILLIANT for TNA as a way to engage fans going into a season that historically is a bit sparse for innovative content in the past decade or so, has become a beacon; a bastion of stability for TNA the past three years and running.
I don't need to go into the purpose of the Bound for Glory Series, but I WILL say that there are a few bright spots I would like to highlight:
1. Jay Bradley- I've been saying it for a while now that THIS GUY has a brilliant head on his shoulders and can deliver a convincing promo as well as a clothesline that looks like something from Bradshaw's better days. Bradley marks the first time Gut Check collides with the big time. This year, Jay Bradley will test his brass against some of TNA's finest and we, as fans, will ultimately play a HUGE part in whether or not he climbs the rankings. Why? Because the past three years, TNA Creative has played their cards, for the most part, with the fans. The bigger the reactions and investment fans put behind a character, the better that performer tends to do in the Series.
2. AJ Styles- Does AJ enter the tourney at all or does he simply make his challenge known outside of the BFGS once the winner is determined? OR does he enter, lose, and THEN challenge for the belt in a three way dance at Bound for Glory? This one will DEFINITELY be something special to watch in the coming weeks as the finalists are determined. Additionally, his feud with Kurt Angle may not be over even though Angle won Sunday. Take notes, WWE. THIS is how you slow burn a story to blossom in a pleasant way.
3. Bully Ray- I realize he'll be operating outside the brackets for the tourney, but knowing that he'll be waiting for whoever DOES win the title, presumably, makes this years' Bound for Glory Series that much more special. I had Ray pegged to win the title in the first place, but HERE'S where I think Matt Morgan needs to find himself....in plain sight and very much in the top couple in line to challenge for the title.
4. Sting- How does TNA play their highlight attraction without putting him at the top of the food chain for a title shot? By playing on his anger that Team TNA abandoned him at Slammiverary. I've been predicting the third faction weighing heavily on what I thought would happen at Slammiversary, which makes things easier now that Sting ISN'T the champion now. It loses a certain something I can't put my finger on if he had taken the belt.
5. Brooke Hogan- In the coming weeks, I believe we'll see something critical happen as it relates to Brooke and how she relates to the rest of the Impact Wrestling family. It could be a dramatic heel turn; it could be that she decides she's had enough and quits, washing her hands of the entire marriage and everything related to it. That would very much put things into a bit of a tailspin.
6. The Mystery Acquistion- If Rampage Jackson IS the signee, we'll see where it goes this summer, but if he ISN'T, we have something BRAND NEW to look forward to that MAY promise to be even bigger for everybody involved. Either way, this year TNA has taken their game up yet another notch, which brings solid promise for the future months.
I find myself in a much more comfortable place in calling TNA the promotion of the year for 2013 in this first half of the year, having made HUGE strides in the right direction. Whether that reputation holds steady for the remaining part of the year remains to be seen, but I hold out high hopes, as usual.